My son recently turned two, and we didn’t have a big party- just a small party with family on the beach. As the date of his birthday approached, I started thinking about kids party favors. While fun, they can be incredibly wasteful. Favors are typically packaged in single-use bags containing small, cheaply made, plastic (and probably toxic) toys. These toys bring instant excitement (but maybe dread from parents), and a short life before breaking or being donated, where they will most likely end up in landfills.
I always appreciate the generosity on the parents’ part for taking the time (and money) to give out party bags, but it seems unnecessary. The last thing I need in my house is more plastic animals, bouncy balls, mini bubbles, etc. So I got to thinking- what would some eco friendly choices be for party favors? The most sustainable choice, of course, would be to opt for no party favors at all. But if your heart is set on giving out favors (I know mine was), here are some zero or low waste choices:
1. Wildflower seed packets or paper
This is what we chose to give out to family members at our son’s mini celebration. Wild flowers don’t feel like as big a responsibility as other seeds, and you can plant them anywhere! There are tons of options for cute wildflower seed packets on Etsy as well as a options on Amazon. We loved the “Thank you for helping me grow” message. You can also purchase wildflower seed paper that contains wildflower seeds in it, which you can personalize for your special event.
2. Recycled crayons
Did you know that an estimated 60 million crayons (or 500,000 lbs) are thrown away every year? When crayons break, people tend to discard them. Broken crayons can easily be melted into molds to create fun shapes like letters, stars, animals, or even dinosaurs! I like to make my own, but you can also find a TON of these crayons on Etsy.
3. Wooden toys
If your heart is set on giving out toys, it’s always better to opt for wood instead of plastic. While wood may be a little more expensive, it’s better for the environment and will last much longer. There are lots of wood toy options- yo-yos, maracas, spinning tops, dice, airplanes, cars. This also opens lots of options for things kids can decorate, like magnets, ornaments, picture frames, bird houses. The options are endless! I recommend looking at craft stores like Michaeals or check out the wooden toys on Temu.
4. Potted plants
I went to one birthday party where the parent gave out succulent plants in mini terra cotta pots that the kids could decorate. I thought this was an adorable idea! Kids love making their own artwork, and taking care of a plant teaches them responsibility. I do recommend including directions for care, as plants are all different (and not everyone has a green thumb).
5. Reusable bags (color your own!)
Encourage kids to go plastic free and carry reusable bags by coloring or decorating their own! These bags come in different sizes with a variety of designs or a blank canvas for the creatively inclined! It’s never too early to encourage kids to ditch single-use plastic items and replace with more sustainable options.
Food is an low waste choice, because well, you eat it. You can make your own snacks and wrap them in recyclable or compostable bags. One fun idea is to have kids assemble their own snacks, like make your own trail mix or s’more kits.
I love giving books, receiving books, and swapping books. This might seem like an expensive party favor, but it’s easy to find books in great shape at local thrift stores.
Do you have other great eco friendly party favor ideas I should know about? Please comment below or send me a message to FairlyRobyn on Instagram. Thanks for stopping by!